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Philharmonia Orchestra, Cambridge Orchestral Concert Series, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Friday 1 February 2019


By Jude Clarke


Friday evening’s concert was the third in the 2018-19 Orchestral Concert Series at the Corn Exchange, and seems set to go down as one of the finest.

Leticia Moreno (6937276)
Leticia Moreno (6937276)

The Philharmonia Orchestra – unshowily but impressively led by conductor Paavo Järvi – gave wonderful voice to three wonderful pieces of music (plus bonus encore), in a programme that seized the imagination from the first note, and sustained it through to the very last.

Beethoven wrote his Coriolan Overture in 1807, at a time when his music was evolving into the stirring “heroic” style for which he is rightly revered. The piece opened in suitably dramatic fashion, and continued apace, with bags of light and shade interspersed with some beautifully pastoral and vividly romantic moments. As the overture drew to its end, the final strains had a subtlety and quietness that nevertheless still managed to resonate every bit as much as anything with more volume.

Violinist Leticia Moreno brought drama and vivacity to her interpretation of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor, next, in the concert’s centrepiece performance. And it was a performance that really brought out the beauty and tenderness of the concerto - the tumbling cascades of notes

Paavo Jarvi (6937312)
Paavo Jarvi (6937312)

Violinist Leticia Moreno brought drama and vivacity to her interpretation of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor, next, in the concert’s centrepiece performance. And it was a performance that really brought out the beauty and tenderness of the concerto - the tumbling cascades of notes perfectly showcasing the versatility of both the instrument and the musician playing it. Fabulous. Generously, Moreno even treated us to an encore, after having received rapturous applause for her performance: Bach’s Violin Sonata No 1 in G Minor.

After the interval we were treated to the glory of Rachmaninov’s Symphony No 2 in E Minor, all swelling romantic strings, wrenching tenderness and thrilling peaks. The glorious – and rightly celebrated – third movement was done full justice by this world-class orchestra, as was the entirety of the programme in this near-perfect evening of musical treats.



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